Is the world’s strongest man now the best super heavyweight weightlifter ever?
Georgian Lasha Talakhadze is already established as the world’s strongest man in history with world record lifts. Now, he’s rivaling the most iconic weightlifter ever for the greatest reign in the super heavyweight division.
Talakhadze, a 29-year-old who weighs 367 pounds, won a sixth consecutive world title to close out the world championships in Bogotá, Colombia, on Friday. Coupled with his two Olympic gold medals, he is undefeated in global championships for the last eight years since returning from a two-year ban for testing positive for the steroid stanozolol.
The eight-year streak matches the super heavyweight record reign held by Soviet legend and Sports Illustrated cover star Vasily Alekseyev, who won every Olympic and world title from 1970 through 1977.
This was by far the closest of Talakhadze’s titles. He won by just four kilograms combining his snatch and clean and jerk (466 kilograms, or 1,027 pounds, to Bahrain’s Gor Minasyan‘s 462 kilograms).
He failed a lift at a global competition for the first time since 2015. He didn’t break a world record at a global competition for the first time since 2015. His total was his lowest at worlds since 2015.
“Yes, I had to fight for it, but I will come back and win again next time,” he said, according to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
Talakhadze said a doctor advised him to lose weight after a very minor heart irregularity was detected. He weighed 35 fewer pounds than at last year’s worlds. He also recently had a leg injury, according to the IWF.
Come the 2024 Paris Games, Talakhadze can tie the record of three Olympic weightlifting gold medals.
Earlier at worlds, Mattie Rogers earned the lone U.S. medal in the total category -- silver in the 76kg class, which is no longer an Olympic weight. Rogers, sixth at the Tokyo Games, has now earned silver at either 71kg or 76kg at four of the last five worlds.
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